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X-ray imaging, cracks, shear deformation, stress strain relations, composite materials


Fracture of crystals and frictional heating are associated with the formation of “hot spots” (localized heating) in energetic composites such as polymer bonded explosives (PBXs). Traditional high speed optical imaging methods cannot be used to study the dynamic sub-surface deformation and the fracture behavior of such materials due to their opaque nature. In this study, high speed synchrotron X-ray experiments are conducted to visualize the in situ deformation and the fracture mechanisms in PBXs composed of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) crystals and hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene binder doped with iron (III) oxide. A modified Kolsky bar apparatus was used to apply controlled dynamic compression on the PBX specimens, and a high speed synchrotron X-ray phase contrast imaging (PCI) setup was used to record the in situ deformation and failure in the specimens. The experiments show that synchrotron X-ray PCI provides a sufficient contrast between the HMX crystals and the doped binder, even at ultrafast recording rates. Under dynamic compression, most of the cracking in the crystals was observed to be due to the tensile stress generated by the diametral compression applied from the contacts between the crystals. Tensile stress driven cracking was also observed for some of the crystals due to the transverse deformation of the binder and superior bonding between the crystal and the binder. The obtained results are vital to develop improved understanding and to validate the macroscopic and mesoscopic numerical models for energetic composites so that eventually hot spot formation can be predicted.


This is the Publisher PDF of Parab, N.D., Roberts, Z., Harr, M., Mares, J., Casey, A., Gunduz, I., Hudspeth, M., Claus, B., Sun, T., Fezzaa, K., Son, S. and Chen W., 2016, “High Speed X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging of Energetic Composites under Dynamic Compression,” Applied Physics Letters, 109: 131903. Copyright AIP Publishing, it is available at their site at DOI 10.1063/1.4963137.

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